The era of Romantic music is defined as the period of European classical music that runs roughly from the early 1800's to the first decade of the 20th century.
Many individual styles of Romantic music existed and were often dependent on where the composers called their home.
Opera was very popular, as were technically difficult pieces that allowed performers to excite their audiences by showing off their performing abilities. Composers wrote music that represented their countries- including the history, politics,and challenges of those countries.
This music is called "Nationalistic," and sometimes included folk song melodies and historical references of the country.
The continued growth of the orchestra was also a trademark of the Romantic period. New instruments, or ones that had been modified in some way, allowed composers to write music for entirely new sounds and for new instrument combinations.
Even though the Romantic period was a time of music based on adventure and emotion, some composers were able to convey emotions while still holding on to the principles of strict form from the Classical period.
The era established a concept of tonality to describe the harmonic vocabulary inherited from the baroque and classical periods. Romantic composers sought to fuse the large structural harmonic planning demonstrated by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven with their own chromatic innovations,
As Romantic Composers widened range of their musical material, we find richer harmonies, more passionate melodies, and greater use of chromaticism. (Chroma is Greek for colour). There was an enormous increase in the size of the orchestra. The tuba was added to the brass section, valves were invented, giving the brass more flexibility. Composers wrote for woodwind instruments in threes of even fours. The piccolo, cor anglais, bass clarinet and double bassoon were added.
A larger string section was formed, to accommodate the extra sound. More varied percussion (e.g. bongos) were added. A larger range of pitch and volume was now possible. New combinations of instruments were brought about. A rich variety of compositions resulted, ranging from piano pieces and songs to large spectacular works, (The majority of large works were by: Wagner, Berlioz, Mahler and Richard Strauss).
Composers of Romantic Period
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